Tik Tok Ban: An Exercise in Futility

by April 18, 2019 0 comments

Tik Tok

Stopping the spread of pornography won’t be attained through the act of banning Tik Tok, or any other act for that matter. When the first camera-enabled phones came out, the Nokia 7650 in fact, a senior journalist mentioned that we have opened a Pandora’s Box by giving easy access to photography and videography devices in the hands of everyone. Without the slight control of a film processing shop, the world changed. Today mobile phones sell on the basis of how good and powerful their selfie cameras are. And smartphone cameras have changed the way we communicate with each other and even consume media. Many media houses are talking about a pivot to ‘Mo-Jo’ meaning mobile journalism.

But like with any technology, the ability to misuse also arose very quickly. A famous video of a Delhi schoolgirl involved in a sex act made headlines across the country back in 2002, and that was just the start of the garbage heap. The advent of the hand-held computers that we call smartphones today made matters worse. Because while they enabled the rise of applications that allow people to share anything and everything, people literally shared anything and everything. In the Philippines and to an extent across South Asia, young girls and boys are exploited and made to perform using such apps, which keep the identities of the abusers completely secret. It is alleged that the Tik Tok application was one of those apps that allowed sexual exploitation to take place very openly and instances have emerged of young women and clearly underage girls performing using this application. But banning this is not the solution, many other messaging and sharing applications have similar privacy issues and short of banning smartphones, nobody can really control such content from spreading. So stopping Tik Tok is like lighting a coil to prevent mosquito bites, it might temporarily solve the problem but is not a long-term solution. Once the Pandora’s Box had been opened, it could not be shut again, and this is the same here. What we can do is better educate young children to raise their voices if they are being abused. And also have far better vigil of the digital environment. Policing is inadequate in the physical world but that is no excuse to not be better prepared online. Banning is not the only solution.

Writer: Pioneer

Courtesy: The Pioneer

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